The Receptive

62. Hsiao Kuo / Preponderance of the Small

above CHêN THE AROUSING, THUNDER
below KêN KEEPING STILL, MOUNTAIN

While in the hexagram Ta Kuo, PREPONDERANCE OF THE GREAT (28), the strong lines preponderate and are within, inclosed between weak lines at the top and bottom, the present hexagram has weak lines preponderating, though here again they are on the outside, the strong lines being within. This indeed is the basis of the exceptional situation indicated by the hexagram. When strong lines are outside, we have the hexagram I, PROVIDING NOURISHMENT (27), or Chung Fu, INNER TRUTH, (61); neither represents and exceptional state. When strong elements within preponderate, they necessarily enforce their will. This creates struggle and exceptional conditions in general. But in the present hexagram it is the weak element that perforce must mediate with the outside world. If a man occupies a position of authority for which he is by nature really inadequate, extraordinary prudence is necessary.

THE JUDGMENT

PREPONDERANCE OF THE SMALL. Success.
Perseverance furthers.
Small things may be done; great things should not be done.
The flying bird brings the message:
It is not well to strive upward,
It is well to remain below.
Great good fortune.

Exceptional modesty and conscientiousness are sure to be rewarded with success; however, if a man is not to throw himself away, it is important that they should not become empty form and subservience but be combined always with a correct dignity in personal behavior. We must understand the demands of the time in order to find the necessary offset for its deficiencies and damages. In any event we must not count on great success, since the requisite strength is lacking. In this lies the importance of the message that one should not strive after lofty things but hold to lowly things.
The structure of the hexagram gives rise to the idea that this message is brought by a bird. In Ta Kuo, PREPONDERANCE OF THE GREAT (28), the four strong, heavy lines within, supported only by two weak lines without, give the image of a sagging ridgepole. Here the supporting weak lines are both outside and preponderant; this gives the image of a soaring bird. But a bird should not try to surpass itself and fly into the sun; it should descend to the earth, where its nest is. In this way it gives the message conveyed by the hexagram.

THE IMAGE

Thunder on the mountain:
The image of PREPONDERANCE OF THE SMALL.
Thus in his conduct the superior man gives preponderance to reverence.
In bereavement he gives preponderance to grief.
In his expenditures he gives preponderance to thrift.

Thunder on the mountain is different from thunder on the plain. In the mountains, thunder seems much nearer; outside the mountains, it is less audible than the thunder of an ordinary storm. Thus the superior man derives an imperative from this image: he must always fix his eyes more closely and more directly on duty than does the ordinary man, even though this might make his behavior seem petty to the outside world. He is exceptionally conscientious in his actions. In bereavement emotion means more to him than ceremoniousness. In all his personal expenditures he is extremely simple and unpretentious. In comparison with the man of the masses, all this makes him stand out as exceptional. But the essential significance of his attitude lies in the fact that in external matters he is on the side of the lowly.

Nine in the third place means:
If one is not extremely careful,
Somebody may come up from behind and strike him.
Misfortune.

At certain times extraordinary caution is absolutely necessary. But it is just in such life situations that we find upright and strong personalities who, conscious of being in the right, disdain to hold themselves on guard, because they consider it petty. Instead, they go their way proud and unconcerned. But this self-confidence deludes them. There are dangers lurking for which they are unprepared. Yet such danger is not unavoidable; one can escape it if he understands that the time demands that he pay especial attention to small and insignificant thing.

Nine in the fourth place means:
No blame. He meets him without passing by.
Going brings danger. One must be on guard.
Do not act. Be constantly persevering.

Hardness of character is tempered by yielding position so that no mistakes are made. The situation here calls for extreme caution; one must make no attempt of one’s own initiative to reach the desired end. And if one were to go on, endeavoring one must be on guard and not act but continue inwardly to persevere.

2. K’un / The Receptive

above K’UN THE RECEPTIVE, EARTH
below K’UN THE RECEPTIVE, EARTH

This hexagram is made up of broken lines only. The broken lines represents the dark, yielding, receptive primal power of yin. The attribute of the hexagram is devotion; its image is the earth. It is the perfect complement of THE CREATIVE–the complement, not the opposite, for the Receptive does not combat the Creative but completes it . It represents nature in contrast to spirit, earth in contrast to heaven, space as against time, the female-maternal as against the male-paternal. However, as applied to human affairs, the principle of this complementary relationship is found not only in the relation between man and woman, but also in that between prince and minister and between father and son. Indeed, even in the individual this duality appears in the coexistence of the spiritual world and the world of the senses.
But strictly speaking there is no real dualism here, because there is a clearly defined hierarchic relationship between the two principles. In itself of course the Receptive is just as important as the Creative, but the attribute of devotion defines the place occupied by this primal power in relation to the Creative. For the Receptive must be activated and led by the Creative; then it is productive of good. Only when it abandons this position and tries to stand as an equal side by side with the Creative, does it become evil. The result then is opposition to and struggle against the Creative, which is productive of evil to both.

THE JUDGMENT

THE RECEPTIVE brings about sublime success,
Furthering through the perseverance of a mare.
If the superior man undertakes something and tries to lead,
He goes astray;
But if he follows, he finds guidance.
It is favorable to find friends in the west and south,
To forego friends in the east and north.
Quiet perseverance brings good fortune.

The four fundamental aspects of the Creative–“sublime success, furthering through perseverance”–are also attributed to the Receptive. Here, however, the perseverance is more closely defined: it is that of a mare. The Receptive connotes spatial reality in contrast to the spiritual potentiality of the Creative. The potential becomes real and the spiritual becomes spatial through a specifically qualifying definition. Thus the qualification, “of a mare,” is here added to the idea of perseverance. The horse belongs to earth just as the dragon belongs to heaven. Its tireless roaming over the plains is taken as a symbol of the vast expanse of the earth. This is the symbol chosen because the mare combines the strength and swiftness of the horse with the gentleness and devotion of the cow.
Only because nature in its myriad forms corresponds with the myriad impulses of the Creative can it make these impulses real. Nature’s richness lies in its power to nourish all living things; its greatness lies in its power to give then beauty and splendor. Thus it prospers all that lives. IT is the Creative that begets things, but they are brought to birth by the Receptive. Applied to human affairs, therefore, what the hexagram indicated is action in conformity with the situation. The person in questions not in an independent position, but is acting as an assistant. This means that he must achieve something. It is not his task to try to lead–that would only make him lose the way-but to let himself be led. If he knows how to meet fate with an attitude of acceptance, he is sure to find the right guidance. The superior man lets himself be guided; he does not go ahead blindly, but learns from the situation what is demanded of him and then follows this intimation from fate.
Since there is something to be accomplished, we need friends and helpers in the hour of toil and effort, once the ideas to be realized are firmly set. The time of toil and effort is indicated by the west and south, for west and south symbolize the place where the Receptive works for the Creative, as nature does in summer and autumn. If in that situation one does not mobilize all one’s powers, the work to be accomplished will not be done. Hence to find friends there means to find guidance. But in addition to the time of toil and effort, there is also a time of planning, and for this we need this solitude. The east symbolized the place where a man receives orders from his master, and the north the place where he reports on what he has done. At that time he must be alone and objective. In this sacred hour he must do without companions. So that the purity of the moment may not be spoiled by fictional hates and favoritism.

THE IMAGE

The earth’s condition is receptive devotion.
Thus the superior man who has breadth of character
Carries the outer world.

Just as there is only one heaven, so too there is only one earth. In the hexagram of heaven the doubling of the trigram implies duration in time, but in the hexagram of earth the doubling connotes the solidity and extension in space by virtue of which the earth is able to carry and preserve all things that live and move upon it. The earth in its devotion carries all things, good and evil, without exception. In the same way the superior man gives to his character breadth, purity, and sustaining power, so that he is able both to support and to bear with people and things.

Published on November 2, 2018 at 6:00 by

Aloe Vera

Yesterday i got an aloe vera plant from friends living in my street. Last week i took care of their cats, while they were on holiday. They have many aloe vera plants in their house, so i asked for one. Very happy with it. Need to read more about its uses. For now, i love the way it looks, so i won’t be using it that much.

Published on November 1, 2018 at 6:00 by

Pot Luck October 2018

It is cold today. The first day of the wintertime. A long day. It still feels like it should be later right now. Only 21:11.

There was a Pot Luck this evening at the Vredestuin. I didn’t expect many people. We joked beforehand, Jorinde and me, that maybe it would be just the two of us. But it was quite busy! Around twelve people turned up. We chatted. Sang a few songs. Sat around the fire, which made it feel not that cold. Our behinds were cold though. And the few moments i walked away i felt the chill in the wind.

I made a potato, onion, courgette and green tomato dish to cook upon the wood fire. Someone else bought a dessert, a thick sweet semolina porridge with currants. Vegan. I still had some quince cake i baked this morning. I’m still full.

A lovely evening!

Published on October 29, 2018 at 6:00 by

Quince cake

I love quince. Last year was the first year i ate them. Here in the Netherlands they are not well known. But we have them in the garden, so i started to look for recipes. And there are plenty. The membrillo i made two weeks ago. Jams and jellies. And cakes!

I’m taking a Nigel Slater cake as inspiration. I didn’t have golden syrup, so i added a bit more muscovado sugar and some honey i still lying around. This week i saw quinces on the market at a Turkish stall, for 80 cents a kilo. I bought four big ones.

Ingredients
water 1.5 litres
caster sugar 150g
quinces 3, medium
lemon 1

For the cake:
self-raising flour 250g
ground cinnamon 1 tsp
ground ginger 1 tsp
bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp
salt a pinch
honey 200g
butter 125g
dark muscovado sugar 125g
eggs 2
poaching syrup from the fruit 240ml

Method
First you need to boil the quinces until they are soft in the water and sugar liquid. I let mine boil for around an hour. The recipe said to core them afterwards with a teaspoon. That didn’t work for me. So i halved the quinces again so i could cut out the cores. It worked reasonably well. Some bits broke off. To me it still looked good.

Pre-heat your oven at 180ªC. Use a round cake tin with a diameter of around 24 cm and butter it.

For the cake you mix the dry ingredients. Then you warm up the butter, muscovado sugar and the honey (or golden syrup if you have that). The two eggs and 240 ml of the poaching liquid are mixed separately. Add the butter and sugar mixture to the dry ingredients and mix them. Then add the egg and liquid mixture. This leaves you with a slightly runny cake mixture. Pour this over the quinces in the tin.

Bake the cake for around 40-45 minutes.

Enjoy!

Published on October 26, 2018 at 6:00 by

Green tomato chutney

Tomato harvest is going towards its end. Last weekend we picked most of the tomatoes from the plants. Green ones. Around a month ago i made green tomato chutney. I likd it, but it was too sweet for some people. So i searched for another recipe. I found this one on the BBC Good Food website.

In the comments there are some variations mentioned. So i’m adding some spices and chili’s. I will add the old chutney i made, simply add less sugar and taste a bit more.

The courgettes are for a pickling sweet sour courgette recipe. I ended up not making it. Another day.

Ingredients

  • 2½ kg green tomato
  • 500g onion
  • 1 rounded tbsp salt
  • 500g sultana
  • 500g cooking apple
  • 300g light muscovado sugar
  • 1 litre jar spiced pickling vinegar
  • spices: ground ginger, tumeric, ground star anice, dried chili

Method

  1. I didn’t leave the tomatoes and onion overnight. Too impatient. I did start out with them though and left them standing for a while.
  2. Next i picked the jars from my collection of saved ones and put them in big pans with boiling water. I left them in there with the water boiling fiercely for around ten minutes.
  3. Chop the sultanas. Peel, core and chop the apples.
  4. Put the sugar and the vinegar into a large pan, boil and stir to dissolve the sugar
  5. Add the sultanas and apples to the vinegar and sugar and simmer for around ten minutes
  6. Strain the tomatoes and onions, don’t rinse. Add the tomatoes and onions
  7. Put the ginger, tumeric, star anice and dried chilis in a dry pan and roast them for around ten minutes. Add them to the chutney mixture
  8. Simmer for around an hour or until you are happy with the consistency.
  9. Transfer the chutney to the jars, make sure they are really full and cover with the lids

Published on October 25, 2018 at 6:00 by

Conflict

6. Sung / Conflict

above CH’IEN THE CREATIVE, HEAVEN
below K’AN THE ABYSMAL, WATER

The upper trigram, whose image is heaven, has an upward movement; the lower trigram, water, in accordance with its nature tends downward. Thus the two halves move away from each other, giving rise to the idea of conflict.
The attribute of the Creative is strength, that of the Abysmal is danger, guile. Where cunning has force before it, there is conflict.
A third indication of conflict, in terms of character, is presented by the combination of deep cunning within and fixed determination outwardly. A person of this character will certainly be quarrelsome.

THE JUDGMENT

CONFLICT. You are sincere
And are being obstructed.
A cautious halt halfway brings good fortune.
Going through to the end brings misfortune.
It furthers one to see the great man.
It does not further one to cross the great water.

Conflict develops when one feels himself to be in the right and runs into opposition. If one is not convinced of being in the right, opposition leads to craftiness or high-handed encroachment but not to open conflict.
If a man is entangled in a conflict, his only salvation lies in being so clear-headed and inwardly strong that he is always ready to come to terms by meeting the opponent halfway. To carry one the conflict to the bitter end has evil effects even when one is the right, because the enmity is then perpetuated. It is important to see the great man, that is, an impartial man whose authority is great enough to terminate the conflict amicably or assure a just decision. In times of strife, crossing the great water is to be avoided, that is, dangerous enterprises are not to be begun, because in order to be successful they require concerted unity of focus. Conflict within weakens the power to conquer danger without.

THE IMAGE

Heaven and water go their opposite ways:
The image of CONFLICT.
Thus in all his transactions the superior man
Carefully considers the beginning.

The image indicates that the causes of conflict are latent in the opposing tendencies of the two trig rams. Once these opposing tendencies appear, conflict is inevitable. To avoid it, therefore, everything must be taken carefully into consideration in the very beginning. If rights and duties are exactly defined, or if, in a group, the spiritual trends of the individuals harmonize, the cause of conflict is removed in advance.

Published on October 24, 2018 at 6:00 by